Twitter is Trolling the Oregon Militia Men With Hashtags

January 4th 2016

Kyle Jaeger

Over the weekend, dozens of heavily armed white men seized part of a federal wildlife refuge near Bend, Oregon, over a land dispute. While the FBI recently weighed in on the standoff, law enforcement has kept a safe distance from the self-described militiamen, and some Twitter users think the official response reveals white privilege.

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#YallQaeda, #Yeehawd, and #VanillaISIS are just some of the hashtags that the situation in Oregon has inspired, calling attention to an apparent racial bias in how people have described the armed takeover of federal buildings at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. If the group wasn't white, they would be labeled "terrorists," and the law enforcement and media response would be different, the argument goes.

RELATED: This Viral Comic Nails the Racist Hypocrisy Toward Oregon's Militiamen

While the situation in Oregon is still unfolding, it appears to be part of a recent trend of extreme, anti-government movements, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups in the country. Since President Barack Obama was elected in 2008, there has been a dramatic spike in the number of so-called "patriot" groups operating in the U.S.

As of 2014, the Southern Poverty Law Center reported that there were 874 active extreme, anti-government groups in the country—up from 143 in 2008, at the end of former president George W. Bush's last term in office.